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Halfterm Funtime

After the shenanigans of the last term, this halfterm I had decided that it was to be full up with stuff. And it was. I had homework to complete.

Plenty of parkrunning and long runs, Samaritans, gigs, meals out, reading, allotment action and general merry making was had.

I’m feeling ready for a very important term back at school.

Blog Project365

Project365 #83

Today you are in for a treat. Not only do you get another daily picture that shows what an exciting life I lead, but you also get to listen to me waffle on about music.

What's brought this on I hear you say. Well actually it was a spam email. Let me explain…

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a company called Vinyl Me, Please who were inviting me to subscribe to their service. It turns out their service is rather interesting: limited edition LP, original artwork print plus a custom cocktail recipe (not quite sure about the cocktail recipe). You have no idea what the LP will be; it could be anything from rap to jazz to country to funk. The price you pay for the subscription? $38 per month. Yep, you're right, USA only – unless you want to whack another $20 for delivery.

Now, I like a bit of vinyl, it's not the only form of music I buy, far from it – I love a CD, download through iTunes, streaming through Spotify, I've even got bloody cassettes – but like I said, I like a bit of vinyl, so I was interested.

So I googled it, well to be precise, I googled 'vinyl subscription uk'. What did the mighty Google come up with? Well a few bits and pieces. But this company caught my eye: Wax & Stamp.

Now may be a good time to insert today's Project365. Just going off on a tangent: 83 days into 2015 already?!…

So what is Wax & Stamp all about? Well it is a vinyl subscription service based in the UK. For £26 per month you get a couple of LPs (or a LP and an EP) – one chosen by the company, one chosen by some guest selector. You have no control over what is sent – all you know is that it will be a new release – but it could be pretty much anything.

Sounds interesting – but I'm still undecided.



Back in the game!

I like Parkrun, I think it's a fantastic idea: a free 5km timed run local to pretty much everyone. Despite thinking it is a great idea and enjoying them, I must admit that actually getting out of bed on a Saturday morning in time to make the start line is pretty rare.

A year or so ago Parkrun was a pretty regular occurrence, in fact my PB had come down to 19.37, and for a middle-aged old git that's not too bad. Recently I have managed to get back in the game. Attended Peterborough Parkrun last week, finishing in 20.48, which I was pretty happy with, it also meant a 28th place finish amongst 375.

So when I found myself once again at Ferry Meadows Country Park for another Peterborough Parkrun I had my eye firming set on beating last week's time. Thinking back to last week I had started reasonably easy, due in part to starting in the main pack. Not this morning, I was prepared, I positioned myself reasonably close to the front. I wasn't going to start off easy today. The thing with a 5km is that if you want a good time you've got to be prepared to go off hard. That I did. In fact I ran the first kilometre at about 3000mph – you may think this is an exaggeration – but it's not.

After 2km my legs were feeling the fast pace, the voices in my head asking, “Why do you run 5km? It's too short. You're not fast enough!” It felt like I was running through treacle, and bloody thick treacle at that! However, it is at about this point that you begin the second lap and start lapping people – that's always good for self-confidence.

By 3km I had calmed down, of course my legs were still struggling, but less than ten minutes running left, I might be ok. The positivity began to pump through my veins. I looked ahead – I could see a girl – I don't like being beaten by girls. I had a target to chase. It took a while but I caught her up – and passed her – things were going well. It was at this point that it dawned on me that I wasn't wearing a watch – no big deal – sometimes it's nice to just run as well as you can and see what time it gets you. But it would have been nice to see how it was going.

As the 4km marker came into view I finally worked out what had been bugging me for most of the race – there was a fella ahead with something stuck to his back. What was it? It looked like a number. It was the 20-minute pacer! I wasn't even that far behind him!

Suffice to say that I never caught him up. I crossed the finish line about 10secs behind him. My legs were knackered. My chest felt like it was going to explode. But I was happy. Finishing time 20.08. Position? Amazingly… it was 28th again. Lovely jubbly!

Although saying that, do you remember I don't like getting beaten by girls? Well I was. By two! And one of them was only 14 years old!!! Oh well, like I said, I am a middle-aged old git.





Nearly halfway through a two week half-term and my world has been revolving around the undead. It seems that every way I turn I am faced with rotten corpses walking the Earth or the droning sounds of the walking dead. I've seen 1000s killed in various ways and run from 100s.

Over the last few weeks I've become slightly obsessed with 'The Walking Dead'. I was told by various people to give it a go – I'm currently nearing the end of season 3 – and if you like zombies it's definitely worth giving it a go. I find myself saying 'ooooo nice kill' at various points, I particularly like the slicing off the top of head kills. Now I know it's only a TV programme but there are a few issues:

  • It is annoying that that decide to do anything 'just before sunset'
  • Andrew Lincoln's ridiculous exaggerated American accent.
  • The amount of walking backwards checking for zombies they do.
  • The way most things take ages to do when you have a hoard of the undead getting closer.

If watching zombies is not enough I've taken to running away from them again….

It's been a while since I've been using the Zombies, Run! app to track runs – but I'm back using it.

On top of this I came across a fella at the woods who looked like Merle from The Walking Dead, from a distance it even looked like he only had one hand and was carrying a huge knife.

It did however just turn out to be an old guy with a stick walking his dog.

Like I said….I'm becoming slightly obsessed….



I am a survivor….

Survival of the Fittest. Done.

It was a great event, well organised and well worth doing. Would you like a list of highlights?

  • Monkey bars are not my strong point – but I did manage the first lot without falling off.
  • Water slide – fully immersed in very manky water – followed by a bit of swimming – very cold.
  • The weeks of basketball at school paid off when you were required to shoot a basket before carrying on – did it first time.
  • Saved a woman's life* when she got her ponytail caught when going under a cargo net.
  • Running up and down the aisles at The City Ground was a nice touch.
  • Even managed the final 'Wall of Fame' without any help.


Goody bag had an interesting collection of 'goodies':

Yes you're right….that is Durex Embrace Pleasure Gels!?!?

Now to try to talk some people into the Mizuno Endure24…..

* this is a slight exaggeration



I’m back!

It has been 102 days since my last blog; that was to celebrate the completion of Juneathon.

It is another running event that has forced me back in the blogosphere.

Survival of the Fittest in Nottingham is a 10k obstacle course that runs through the heart of the city, including a dunking in the river, lots of mud, plenty of climbing and even a 'tour' of the Forest football ground.

After umming and ahhing for a couple of months I finally got round to signing up. So tomorrow I will be heading to Nottingham to join the 1000s attempting to complete the course.

Keep an eye out for me: Wave 10, 12.15pm start.

Bring it on!


Blog Juneathon

What you’ll need for a successful Juneathon….

Having taken part in both Janathon and Juneathon for the past three or so years, and with the 'annual festival of activity and excuses' only a few days away, I thought I would impart my knowledge on what you need to complete a successful Juneathon:

  • A plan. Your plan could come in one of three guises: a target mileage/exercise routine, written down and stuck to despite everything else; or a more laissez-faire attitude, one of, run if you want, or not if you don't feel like it; or maybe your plan will be somewhere in between. Whatever you choose be happy and comfortable with the plan – knowing that, in the end the plan can always be chucked out the window. To conclude, you probably don't actually need a plan.
  • Running kit. Running or exercising for 30 days in a row puts an awful lot of pressure on your kit. There are a few things you can do to ensure you've always got kit to wear: tell the missus to keep on top of the washing (a risky strategy); or hit the shops and buy more stuff; or struggle on with what you have got, with the understanding that at some stage you will be wearing mouldy kit that has been dug out from the bottom of the wash basket. Therefore, you probably don't actually really need loads of running kit.
  • Hot water. Juneathon very quickly becomes showerathon. So ensure the boiler is in tip top condition and you have loads of hot water. Unless you are a bit skanky, in which case you don't even need hot water.
  • Time. If you are not one to do lots of exercise, be prepared to watch the month of June disappear quicker than Usain Bolt on speed. What with work, exercising, showering and complaining you'll find you won't have much time for anything else. Unless of course you don't actually have a life – in which case time is not an issue.
  • Creativity. One of the 'rules' of Juneathon is to blog everyday. People will not want to read blogs that say, 'went for a run today', or 'feel tired after today's exercise' – you need to try to entertain – include pictures – write poems – tell jokes – anything that will make people want to return and follow you on your journey through Juneathon. However, I think it is now acceptable to micro-blog – just posting 'I ran' on Twitter may be enough to suffice – so, creatively may not be required either.

In conclusion, this 'What you need for a successful Juneathon' post is clearly nonsense. Just sign-up and have a go.



One week on…

One week later and all is forgotten: the bruises have faded and are barely visible; the aches and pains have gone; and even the smell of whatever was at the bottom of the lake is no longer clinging to the skin.

The 20 miles. The 200 obstacles. It all seems like a dream.

It was a great experience. If you are considering taking part in one of the ever increasing selection of alternative runs about, I would recommend the Rat Race Dirty Weekend. It is 'the world's largest assault course', and if you're going to do something stupid you may as well just go for it. There was plenty of crawling, wadding, climbing, jumping, pulling, swimming, pushing, balancing, falling, swinging, as well as quite a bit of running. You can sign up for 2015 now.

Next up: Men's Health Survival of the Fittest at Nottingham in October. But more importantly, it's only a couple of weeks until Juneathon. Oh. My. God.



Saturday run…complete with obstacles…

Yesterday's run, with next Saturday's Rat Race in mind, was a leisurely jog around the woods. Although I was very aware of the impending 200 obstacles that are approaching very fast. In fact, they are approaching faster than the need to get out of the front room when the new episode of A Game of Thrones is on when you are still plowing through the first season. 200 obstacles!? I feel I need to say that again: 200 obstacles. All in the space of 20 miles. Yes, 20 miles. Let me just recap: 200 obstacles, 20 miles. So with that in mind I attempted to throw in a few obstacles into my 'leisurely jog'.

First up, a fallen tree across the path, not exactly an 'obstacle' in the whole Rat Race sense of an obstacle, but an obstacle all the same….

My second obstacle was unplanned. Picking up speed downhill through a particularly overgrown path I got snagged on some rather aggressive brambles. Resulting in me performing a 360 deg pirouette whilst trying to avoid getting pulled into said brambles.

Third obstacle: a run of fallen trees. Please note the dangerous looking spikes, making this a life or death obstacle…

Next up was the biggest test to date: a log stack. You could argue that it actually isn't a 'stack', although the forestry commission sign located close by stated: 'Do not climb on the log stacks'. Suffice to say I did climb on the log stack, nearly breaking both ankles in the process. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

The final obstacle of the run was a dangerous over hanging branch that required me to slightly duck under. Done.

So, five 'massive' obstacles completed during the 5 mile run. I'm ready!